The DOT’s Craig Markley told the Transportation Commission that Upper Iowa Beef opened in February.
“It did not take off and they’ve shut down…now there is hope that they will reopen,” Markley says. The company started as Lime Springs Beef, before the name change and received a RISE grant from the state for $325,000 to extend a road to the plant in Lime Springs with the promise of creating new jobs. Markley says companies are always given some time to reach their job goals.
“Our RISE policy allows them three years after the roadway is open,” Markley explains, “so we won’t check back in until that point in time. Because there’s a chance that another company could reopen that plant.” Markley says a new company may be able to take over the plant and not have to pay back the grant if they meet the proper requirements. “If they hire….the same number of employees, roughly the same wages, that kind of thing. The policy that the commission has will allow that substitution if you will,” Markley says. He says they would seek a repayment settlement if the promises made for the grant are not completed.
A company spokesman told Radio Iowa during their recruitment process that they were looking to hire 50 to 60 employees. He said the plant would take a different approach than traditional packing plants, by having employees working different jobs throughout the day. The plant hoped to sell consumers on buying local and getting their beef from local sources.
Information from the company says Northern Iowa Community College gave the company at training grant of more than $300,000 for job training to prepare the workers. It also says the city offered some tax benefits and the local chapter of Future Farmers of America invested $20,000 in shares of the company.